May 22, 2008

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Sarah McLachlan, Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff
Arista Records, April 29
Sarah McLachlan owns chick-music simply because she’s a flawless creature. Like basically everything else she’s done, this scattershot collection of previously released team-ups and one-offs stands on its own merit as an album, and that’s saying something when the cast includes mummified rapper DMC in one corner, Cyndi Lauper in another, and Emmylou Harris providing a touchstone of coherence to the entire package with a hold-your-breath duet on “Angel” from a Lilith Fair show. Not to be confused with 1996 Canadian import of the same name (none of those songs are aboard), this is more geared to American ears, and it’s hard not to be smitten. Essentially every angle she’s ever played gets touched upon— the trance-electro pairing with Delerium as remixed by Tiesto (if you can beat that, you should be making Armin van Buuren’s salary), the sweet unpluggedness of Lennon/McCartney’s “Blackbird,” the gorgeous ”Miracle” — not one miss, although it helps to know that she’s lowered herself to some crazy journeyman roles over the years if you’re trying to grok her high-class-booty-bimbo taking of the backseat to DMC on “Just Like Me,” wherein she gracefully accepts a vanilla assignment to sing the refrain from “Cats in the Cradle” while he yo-yo-yos away. AEric W. Saeger